Mar 1-May 25
Reading Public Museum
500 Museum Road
Reading, PA 19611
Courting Style: Women's Tennis Fashion
Tennis has been a popular activity for men and women alike since the 1870s, and developed initially as a casual leisure activity that men and women could partake in together at social gatherings. Early tennis fashion developed out of the styles and fabrics that were already in use for other popular outdoor activities, such as cricket and croquet. Like the game itself, tennis fashion has also seen tremendous changes over the years.
With an emphasis on outfits worn by the great iconic players, such as Evonne Goolagong, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Billie Jean King, Tracy Austin, Maria Sharapova, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, the exhibition explores developments in tennis fashion design as well as fabrications, trends, major championships, identity, and the players themselves.
From skirt lengths to color combinations and hair accessories, tennis fashions have had broader implications in the fashion world, as they reflect concurrent social and cultural contexts. While men’s tennis fashions have changed at slower rates, women’s tennis clothes are consistently a fiercely debated topic, even in regard to the most seemingly minimal alterations. Historian and author Jaime Schultz believes that “from the moment women first picked up their rackets, their attire inspired questions of decorum, social distinction, physicality, and femininity.”